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Murray Calls On Senate Republican Leaders To Listen To Their Own Members, Agree To Bipartisan Budget Conference

May 23 2013

Murray joins McCain in criticizing obstructionist Republicans’ preconditions for conference

Murray: “The American people deserve certainty. That certainty will come when we can move to conference with an open, transparent committee process that allows us to get the budget in order. And I urge our colleagues to reconsider their objection

(Washington, D.C.) – Today, Senate Budget Committee Chairman Patty Murray (D-WA) delivered a speech on the Senate floor urging Senate Republican leadership to listen to the many Republican senators who have recently called for a bipartisan budget conference, and allow the Senate and House to begin negotiations under regular order.  Murray spoke after Senator Claire McCaskill (D-MO) requested unanimous consent to move to conference and was blocked by Senator Mike Lee (R-UT), marking Democrats’ eleventh attempt in 61 days to begin formal budget negotiations with the House.

Murray expressed her strong agreement with comments from Senator John McCain (R-AZ), who this week forcefully called for moving to conference, that the Republican excuses for blocking regular order—demanding a preconference “framework,” imposing preconditions on bipartisan negotiations, and asking for a “do-over” of the budget floor debate they strongly praised—just don’t hold up under scrutiny.

Murray called for Senate Republican leaders to listen to their members, recognize that their strategy of delaying until the next manufactured crisis is unsustainable, and agree to start formal bipartisan budget negotiations.

Key excerpts from Murray’s floor remarks and colloquy with Senator McCain

“I have been listening to this debate, not just now but for 61 days as we have been working extremely hard to get the budget passed and then go to conference to work with our House colleagues, who, by the way, are majority Republicans.”

“As the Senator from Missouri said, we had 50 hours of debate, we had over a hundred amendments that were considered. Not one amendment was offered or considered on the debt ceiling, which is now what they're objecting that we go to conference to. And we had an ability -- in fact, the Senator from Texas I believe offered 17 amendments and he's been objecting because of this.”

“I know my responsibility as a United States Senator is to work with my House Republican colleagues and those on our conference committee to come to the best judgment we can mutually to move our country forward and to get us out of this management by crisis that has been forced on us time and time again over the last several years.”

“The American people deserve certainty. That certainty will come when we can move to conference with an open, transparent committee process that allows us to get the budget in order. And I urge our colleagues to reconsider their objection.”

Watch full exchange (starting at 1:35)